Ongoing innovations in digital wide format printing devices, substrates, and inks are enabling just about any surface to become a canvas for art, graphics, or marketing messages. There is an evident “surface transformation" that digital wide format printers are leading across the world’s walls, vehicles, floors, elevators, windows and building exteriors. With this increasing versatility, opportunities abound to creatively differentiate the printed output.
Everywhere you go you see wide format graphics; hospitals, airports, retail and more. They surround us every day and there is still a lot of application growth possible for technology.
Turning an Outdoor Bench into Art (www.drytac.com)
Substrate Options Enable Product Diversity
An important component of this application diversity is that today’s wide format devices can print on a variety of flexible and rigid substrates. Roll-fed devices print on substrates such as flexible plastics, vinyl, canvas and textiles. Meanwhile, rigid substrates, including thick plastic, board, glass, wood, or metal perform best on flatbed printers. In addition, work printed on roll-fed printers can be mounted on rigid materials.
Art and graphics can be incredibly impactful, changing a room — or even a whole building — with color and design. If you can envision it, you can probably produce it on a digital wide format printing device. Digital wide format devices accommodate oversized print work that standard printers cannot. For service providers that already have small-format digital printing capabilities, adding wide format printing equipment is a logical extension.
Dental Office Wall Mural (www.imcraft.com)
PVC Signs at AAA (image360)
A Pet Friendly Wide Format Application (mactac.com)
Floor Adhesive Signs (www.drytac.com)
Fundraising with Fan Cutouts (Ricoh)
Infrastructure Becomes Interactive Art
Graphics production and installation company Premier Graphic, Richmond, British Columbia, recently printed a series of stunning and colorful graphics for an innovative project at the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver.
The company used a range of films and laminates from to bring an artist's vision to life. This vision was to mix colorful graphics with augmented reality (AR), “extending” the Cambie Street Bridge into a 19,000 sq. ft. public art installation for the Vancouver Biennale exhibition.
Installed in June 2021, Angel’s design featured a huge, two-dimensional vinyl mural that wrapped the pedestrian walkway, the supporting columns and the underside of the bridge, turning what is usually a relatively dull structure into an eye-catching piece of art.
The AR took this a step further, with passers-by encouraged to download the free Vancouver Biennale app and hold up their phone while traversing through the walkway. The app enables people to see and interact with digital objects on their smart devices.
Wide Format Graphics Transform Cambie Street Bridge (www.drytac.com)
Wide Format Label Capabilities
Labels may not be an application typically associated with wide format printing, but many of today’s wide format printers and printer/cutters are well-suited to this high-demand segment.
Digitally printed labels are enticing brand owners with features that enable personalization and economical short runs. The ability to cost-effectively print runs of hundreds, rather than thousands or millions, presents value to startups as well as big brands.
In addition, brand owners are expanding product versioning for many competitive reasons: to capture customers’ attention on crowded retail shelves, improve the customer experience with packaging, and to engage with customers on a more personal level. This requires multiple versions of packaging and labels.
Versioned Labels (Ricoh)
Time to Broaden Creativity and Stretch the Boundaries
Digital wide format devices deliver many lucrative application opportunities. Companies that have invested in these printers are stretching the boundaries of what is possible and transforming surfaces of all types. As technology, substrates, and the customer imagination continue to evolve, the role and use of wide format printed graphics will expand even further!